Finding a home for Include Me 2 Club

We secured a long-term home for IM2C

  • 18 councillors agreed unanimously with the business case we put forward for the charity
  • IM2C will bring life back to a disused building, benefiting both its members and the wider Barrhead community
  • The charity will be less reliant on funding by taking an entrepreneurial approach

Working with Taylor Nisbet has been invaluable for achieving IM2C’s vision. The team was helpful, personable and easy to work with. Without Taylor Nisbet’s process, IM2C would not have moved forward so quickly. It’s a huge step for us!

Paul McIlvenny, Chairperson and Co-Founder of IM2C

The Project

Include Me 2 Club (IM2C) came to us with a dream: to find a new home. The charity had been nomadic since it was set up in 2010, but increasing membership meant that it was time to settle down. The James McGuire building in Barrhead fitted the bill. Owned by East Renfrewshire Council, the building had been sitting unused since 2015.

IM2C approached us to develop a business case for the McGuire building to submit to the council.

 

Challenge

IM2C is all about engaging and inspiring young people and adults with additional support needs. The charity was established in response to the gaps in services for children with additional support needs in East Renfrewshire. They create empowering and inclusive communities that everyone can get involved in.

With demand for services increasing, IM2C were looking to secure a permanent home. As event locations changed often, members weren’t always sure if they could come along. For some members, travelling far isn’t an option. For others, wheelchair accessibility is a barrier to joining in. People with additional support needs thrive off consistency. Finding the perfect home base would be invaluable to members’ experience.

Before the council would sign the McGuire building over, IM2C had to prove that they were the ones for the job. They needed to show that they could support the upkeep of the building and that they had community support.

 

Opportunity

IM2C knew where they wanted to go, just not how to get there. They approached us to create a complete business plan, including revenue sources. Based on our experience, we knew that this wasn’t the appropriate first step. IM2C had not yet done a feasibility study, so including detailed financial information would not have any solid basis. The council could hold IM2C accountable for any numbers included in the submission. We acted to protect IM2C from any potential liability. We advised that compiling a business case with high-level operational costs would be more convincing at this stage. IM2C could move forward with a feasibility study and complete the business plan once the building was secured and that uncertainty removed.

To back up the business proposal and prove to the council that IM2C were up to the job, we had to show the difference the charity makes. This was an opportunity for us to demonstrate the positive impact IM2C makes on its members lives. The charity required someone to bring the incredible work they do to light.

Solution

We saw these opportunities being realised through a stage 1 business proposal and an impact report.

The business proposal would make the case that IM2C were up to the job of running the McGuire building. How IM2C affects its members’ lives would be celebrated in an impact report. This would broaden the audience and be a tool to show potential funders, prospective members and the East Renfrewshire community the difference the charity makes.

 

Business proposal objectives

  • Research the impact of IM2C on its members and community
  • Present potential revenue streams
  • Understand the background and goals of IM2C
  • Create a convincing business proposal
  • Secure the James McGuire building

 

Impact report objectives

  • Research the impact of IM2C on its members and community
  • Create an attractive document that celebrates the difference IM2C makes

Our approach

The need for and value of IM2C were the foundations of both the impact report and business proposal. Members have a range of needs, from physical accessibility to restricted budgets, that IM2C supports where other community groups do not.

We took a hands-on approach to gathering information. Our research team dived into fact-finding, looking at the charity’s work with fresh eyes to get to the core of what they do.

Our approach to information gathering broke down into four main stages:

  1. Understanding IM2C’s vision
  2. In-house research
  3. Case studies with members
  4. Interviewing stakeholders, including MSPs and East Renfrewshire Council Members

 

1.       IM2C’s vision

Our first step was to meet with staff and the board of IM2C to understand their vision for the future of the charity. We discussed their challenges, why they wanted to move into the McGuire building and what ideas they had already for the space. Following this meeting, IM2C sent through all research and strategy meeting notes.

 

2.       In-house research

After receiving this information from IM2C, we started building the story. Gaps became clear, showing where we needed to do further research. We compiled this evidence in-house.

Within a 10-mile radius of Barrhead, we collected information including:

  • Childcare competitors, such as after-school groups
  • Services available, such as support groups
  • Statistics on children with disabilities
  • Transport links

 

Financial information

We researched and developed headline projected costs for operating the IM2C building. We based these projections on historic operational costs, accounting for increased utilities prices. Working with an architect, we included an estimate for a possible building refit.

At this stage of business planning, before a feasibility study has been conducted, we advised against developing detailed financial projections. Doing so would be pulling figures out of thin air – figures that IM2C could be held accountable for in the future.

 

Social enterprise for sustainability

To achieve financial sustainability, and break the cycle of funding, we looked at how the McGuire building could create additional sources of revenue for IM2C.  In the business proposal, we laid out several options for incorporating social enterprise into its strategy, including renting hotdesk space and setting up a bookshop café. Enterprise would open the building to the wider community, creating ripples of impact beyond IM2C’s members.

 

3.       Talking with members

A membership organisation is nothing without its members. It was essential that we listened to them to understand how IM2C affects their lives.

We attended a children’s session where we interviewed parent/guardians of members, as well as an adult event to talk with adult members. They all told us about the difference IM2C had made on their lives. We were taken aback by their positivity. IM2C wasn’t just another charity running events: they have made a real difference.

“The club has helped both of my boys so much with making friends and improving their social interactions. The boys feel happy and in a safe space.” – Mum of Junior Club Members

This part of our work is invaluable. We gain an insight into the impact made, and we bring that story to life. People connect to stories about other people more than numbers and statistics – so we use we use both.

4.       Stakeholders

 

MSPs and Councillors

We talked with MSPs and East Renfrewshire councillors about what they thought of IM2C. They expressed their support and gratitude for having the charity in the Barrhead area. These positive opinions would have been missed without the approach we took.

“I have seen first-hand the great work IM2C does across Barrhead. The group have fantastic drive and passion. The IM2C staff and team of volunteers are a huge credit to the community.” – Maurice Golden, MSP, West Scotland Region

 

Architect

IM2C had previously worked with an architect to develop options for how the McGuire building could be refitted. We identified that these designs would work well as visual aids in the business proposal. By including the designs, we presented to the council a lively business case that had the future of the McGuire building – and Barrhead – in mind.

What we created

The impact report and stage 1 business proposal were created for different audiences. While they did overlap in content, the look and feel of the final documents were fit for their own purposes.

 

Business proposal

We developed the business proposal to persuade the council that IM2C was deserving of the James McGuire building. Using the research we’d collected, we structured the proposal to build the case in the mind of the reader. We evidenced with data, articles and illustrations, the opportunities for the local community should IM2C be awarded the building. We focused on the outcomes for real people in Barrhead to show the council the people that would gain from a positive vote on the building.

To show how IM2C were thinking beyond themselves, we demonstrated the impact on other social groups that would be able to use the space. We threaded the positive, outward-looking attitude of IM2C through the document to show the personality of, what is, a hugely engaging organisation.

 

Impact report

We created the impact report to reinforce IM2Cs case for the James McGuire building. The goal was to celebrate the positive impact IM2C has on the lives of its members and its community. The charity had no real branding. The graphics they had been creating for themselves were based on a loose collection of stock graphics and low-quality images.

We followed our design process, first agreeing with IM2C how they wanted to be seen and the feel they wanted from the document. Their response gave a broad brief: Make it as fun as IM2C. Our brand research found a recurring feature in IM2Cs graphics – the hexagon. It’s a strong shape. We used it to give a feeling of connection and building: We filled blocks with photos of happy members, incredible stats and quotes from members, parents, guardians and local politicians on how the charity benefitted the people around them. Each block was more evidence of IM2Cs impact, showing why they deserve the opportunity to own the James McGuire building.

We reinforced the IM2C’s playful feel by choosing a header font with a wonky, hand drawn style. We paired it with a large, clear body font to aid readability for members with sight problems – a factor we consider for many of our clients.

The impact report did its job, showing IM2C as a positive, engaging organisation delivering positive change to the lives of its members. The benefits of the impact report are clear from the way IM2C founder, Paul McIlvenny, speaks about it:

“The impact report has taken on a life of its own. It’s a huge advantage when we see prospective funders and attend conferences. It adds authenticity and validity. It breaks the mould of how other impact reports look – we have a colourful report that really captures the essence of IM2C.” – Paul McIlvenny, Chairperson and Co-Founder of IM2C

What difference did we make for IM2C?

In November 2018, the business proposal we developed for IM2C was accepted by East Renfrewshire Council. We are thrilled to learn that the James McGuire building will be opened as The Hub for IM2C members in 2019.

Because of the business case we made, 18 councillors agreed unanimously that IM2C should move into the McGuire building. This impressive result is testament to how our research and development process was designed to uncover the impact IM2C had on its members’ lives.

With further plans to develop the space for both members and the wider community, IM2C will rejuvenate the McGuire building and bring it back into community use. Both members and the community will benefit from the space coming to life, and disability will be brought to the heart of the community – not hidden away.

A social enterprise approach will be brought to the activities, programmes and services at the Hub. This will bring revenue to the charity to support its activities and make a greater impact on its members’ lives. It will also bring employment and supply chain opportunities to the wider community.

Moving into the McGuire building has put IM2C on a strategic fast-track. They are well ahead of target for meeting their five-year goals!

 

Thanks for working with us, IM2C!

Congratulations again for securing the McGuire building, IM2C! We are excited to hear about your next steps for your members and community.

 

Want to take a closer look at the impact report we developed for IM2C? You can download the PDF version here.

With the specialist knowledge at Taylor Nisbet, we achieved more that we could ever have thought possible in such a short time frame. We work in a dynamic market where you must strike when the iron is hot. Taylor Nisbet was an expert resource to show the council that we were authentic and serious about the McGuire building project.

Paul McIlvenny, Chairperson and Co-Founder of IM2C

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